Review – The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight is the middle movie of the trilogy about Batman directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale as the haunted, costumed crime fighter who has vowed to rid Gotham City of criminals. He almost meets his match in the Joker, played by the late Heath Ledger, a criminal mastermind who has become consumed by madness. Indeed while Batman is the hero of the movie, the Joker steals the show in his use of terror and chaos, not only for his own advantage, but for its own sake. As Michael Caine’s Alfred ruminates, some people just want to watch the world burn.
While much of the story of the movie involves a cat and mouse game between Batman and the Joker, with the latter threatening to kill people every day until the Dark Knight reveals his secret identity, one of the most compelling subplots involves District Attorney Harvey Dent, played by Aaron Eckhart, a crusading, pure at heart crime fighter whose life is ruined by the Joker. Dent’s wife is killed and Dent is horribly scarred on one side of his face. He becomes a super villain known as Two-Face, who goes after everyone responsible for the death of his wife, flipping a coin to decide their fates.
Gary Oldman reprises his role as James Gordon, a police detective who serves as Batman’s ally and occasional conscience. He is the one character who retains all of his soul throughout the course of the movie.
The Dark Knight is a meditation of the cost of defeating evil, especially an evil as unrelenting and all-consuming as that of the Joker. How far must good go to prevail without becoming evil itself? It is a vexing question that has troubled philosophers and religious leaders for eons, and is most relevant in the modern war on terror, of which The Dark Knight is considered an allegory. Harvey Dent crosses that line between good and evil, but Batman blurs it, out of necessity to be sure, but not without great, personal cost.
The Dark Knight is perhaps the most compelling, thoughtful super hero movie ever made. That is because the super hero, stripped of his costume and his gadgets, is just a fallible man trying to do the best he can.
Characters and cast of The Dark Knight include:
Bruce Wayne – Christian Bale (American Hustle, The Dark Knight Rises, The Prestige, The Fighter, Public Enemies, American Psycho, 3:10 to Yuma, Empire of the Sun, Equilibrium, The Machinist, The New World, Metroland, Swing Kids)
Joker – Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain, 10 Things I Hate About You, A Knight’s Tale, Casanova, Monster’s Ball, The Patriot)
Harvey Dent – Aaron Eckhart (Battle Los Angeles, Thank You for Smoking, Olympus Has Fallen, Possession, Erin Brockovich)
Alfred – Michael Caine (Inception, Harry Brown, The Prestige, Children of Men, The Cider House Rules, The Statement, Blood and Wine, Hannah and Her Sisters)
Rachel – Maggie Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko, White House Down Secretary)
Gordon – Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Rises, The Professional, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Hannibal, Immortal Beloved, JFK)
Lucius Fox – Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption, Se7en, Million Dollar Baby, Driving Miss Daisy, The Lego Movie, Gone Baby Gone)
Scarecrow – Cillian Murphy (Inception, Batman Begins, 28 Days Later, Transcendence, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Cold Mountain)